August 26, 2020 Sisters of the Revolution Part I: Emancipation & Assimilation
Jewish History Soundbites celebrates our 200th episode with the launch of a new series, about the changes in the roles of traditional Jewish women and women's education in modern Jewish history.
The 19th century brought sweeping changes to the world in general and to the Jewish population in particular. By the end of the century, Jews in most countries had achieved emancipation. Even in places like the Russian Empire where they hadn't yet, the winds of change were still blowing.
Though this affected all facets of Jewish life and community, it is with regard to the status and the future of the Jewish woman that is the focus of our story. With new opportunities in education and society, many Jewish women began to struggle with the traditional gender roles within Jewish society. Many chose to leave traditional Jewish life altogether.
At the rabbinical conference in Krakow in 1903, the challenges facing Jewish women were hotly debated, as Jewish education for girls was proposed as a possible solution. In the meantime, Jewish feminism was on the rise as Bertha Pappenheim challenged norms and demanded change. It was a time of upheaval for all, and the Jewish woman was no exception.
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